ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland is lifting its mask mandate beginning Saturday, May 15, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday. Masks will still be required in schools, on public transit and in the healthcare industry.

The state also lifted capacity restrictions on all businesses Saturday, including restaurants for both indoor and outdoor dining.

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The CDC announced Thursday that vaccinated people could go anywhere, indoors and outdoors, without a mask.

“Today is the day that so many of us have been waiting for and working toward,” Hogan said. “We finally do clearly see that light at the end of the tunnel. Our long, hard fought battle against the worst global pandemic in more than a century is finally nearing an end.”

“As we reflect on the hard work and the many sacrifice that it’s taken to finally reached this point, we say thank you to the countless Marylanders who helped us get through here and get to this point, our healthcare heroes, the doctors and nurses who work day in and day out on the front lines, our Maryland National Guard citizen soldiers who distributed meals to kids, and built and staffed our testing and vaccination sites,” Hogan added. “We thank every Marylander who volunteered, gave blood, donated to food banks, and all the businesses that shifted their entire operations overnight to make masks, produce sanitizer,  manufacture face shields.”

He thanked every Marylander that got the vaccination and prayed for the families of the more than 8,700 Marylanders who died as a result of this virus.

Hogan said people who are not vaccinated should get vaccinated immediately and should wear a mask.

Individual businesses can still require masks and local jurisdictions can also keep stricter restrictions.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said the county will follow the state’s lead and lift its mask order.

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“If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, go get your shot. We need a summer surge in vaccinations to prevent a fall surge in cases,” Pittman added.

Hogan announced earlier this week that he would lift all capacity restrictions at businesses around the state on Saturday, but said the indoor mask mandate would remain until 70% of the adult population received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, he changed his mind following the CDC announcement.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski also announced that the county will follow the state’s lead.

As of Friday, 65.4% of the state’s adult population received on dose of a vaccine. More than 2.5 million people are fully vaccinated.

Watch the press conference live:

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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